RoKFOR European project

RoK-FOR project is creating ‘regions of knowledge’ for the forestry sector through trans-national cooperation in Europe

The pan-European project "Sustainable forest management providing renewable energy, sustainable construction and bio-based products" (acronymRoK-FOR) connects the forestry sector of the five European regions. The project will create new partnerships for actors in those regions. It aims to link the regional economies and knowledge in the chain of production based on sustainable forest management. A common European action program is compiled for the five partners’ regional research-driven clusters within the sectors of bio-energy, bio-based products and wood-based construction. The selection of these sectors is based on the European Lead Market Initiative. RoK-FOR will respond to the demand of the Lead markets through its activities. One of the essential objectives is to organize options for financing new projects through the Joint Action Plan (JAP) in each regional research-driven cluster. Project is funded by EU 7 th Framework Programme (FP7).

The five regional research-driven clusters in RoK-FOR are Baden-Württemberg in Germany, Catalonia in Spain, North Karelia in Finland, cross-border clusters from Croatia-Serbia and France-Spain (Aquitaine-Basque). These regional research-driven clusters collectively form a European level meta-cluster that will be working together to increase the coherence and address the needs of the three Lead Market Initiatives (renewable energy, sustainable construction, and bio-based products) under the umbrella of the sustainable forest management in an innovative and competitive manner.

The regional RoK-FOR partners consist of research institutions, regional public administrations and business enterprises. The partnering 20 organizations across Europe play an important role in the regional research-driven clusters to strengthen the networking and implementation of the project activities.

RoK-FOR project will strengthen sustainable international business

RoK-FOR creates an opportunity to develop international business in bioenergy, wood based construction, and bio-based products. The project applies a market-oriented approach that links the needs of local entrepreneurs to the core competences of the research institutions.

The interregional business opportunity will also improve the profile of developing research driven clusters in the RoK-FOR consortium through mentoring based on regional needs and transfer of knowledge and expertise.

Research, production and financing

Each regional cluster consists of enterprises, research and administration. Clusters represent the chain from formulating innovations for their production and financing of these activities. Considering the inter-disciplinary nature of the project, special care has been taken to make this consortium balanced by bringing the most appropriate partners for the related activities. Consortium includes public administration bodies dedicated to mainstream regional development in their respective regions. This will help influencing policies to advance the central topic of the project. All regional public administrative bodies have links with their national authorities who, in turn, ensure a more ‘bottom-up’ feedback for developing regional JAP and their implementation by providing funds in the future.

RoK-FOR project activities

  • A Joint Action Plan (JAP) will be compiled to increase competitiveness of the regions through research and technological development and to mobilize financial resources and other forms of support. During the first phase (18 months), regional plans will be made and an interregional (European) plan based on the regional plans will be elaborated.
  • The JAP will be implemented during the second phase (18 months) according to research and development concepts and business plans. Small and medium size enterprises will be integrated in the research and development activities through joint training and expert mobility.
  • Links will be improved within and between regional authorities, research bodies and enterprises in developing research, technology and development policies, knowledge transfer and learning.
  • Clusters will be strengthened and linked to provide better synergies to address the aims. The meta-cluster at EU level will focus on multifunctional forest management and versatile economical co-operation.
  • Regional research and development will be supported for strengthening the forest sector with regard to sustainable construction, bio-based products and renewable energies.
  • The regional clusters will be supported through networking their internationalization and fostering their competitiveness and sustainable development of their economic activity. 

Significance of the Joint Action Plan

The JAP compiled together with partners will strengthen the participating regions and links them more tightly together and to European developing and financing structures and production.


The project is financed through the FP7 Capacities/Regions of Knowledge. The total financing is 1,7 M€.

The project duration is three years (2010-2012) and Dr. Timo J. Hokkanen from Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for North Karelia, Finland (timo.hokkanen(at), coordinates the project.

The first 1st RoKFOR Conference displays forestry sector capacities and expertise :
State-of-the-art and common research needs in Sustainable Forest Management Providing Renewable Energy, Sustainable Construction and Bio-based Products
14 October 2010, Residence Mer & Golf Eugénie, Biarritz, France